Social Media–A Privacy Buster? by Valerie J. Patterson

I was saddened to hear that Robin Williams took his own life this week.  On the surface, it seemed this funny man had life securely within his grasp.  Below the surface, there was turmoil and intense sadness.  It’s true, the world lost a very unique and talented individual.  Even more true and way more important, a family lost a spouse, a father, an uncle, a friend.  Robin Williams was more than a comedian and an actor.  He was a human being.  He was someone’s son.  Someone’s husband.  And someone’s dad.

I have been reading a lot about Mr. Williams and his war with drug and alcohol addiction, his health problems, and his struggle with depression.  I’ve read about his remarkable career, his immense generosity, and his ability to console friends not just with his wit but with his caring gestures.  However, while those articles were full of facts and accomplishments, it was an article about his daughter, Zelda that really touched my heart.  Herein lies the crux of this blog.

Has social media gone too far in removing any shred of privacy from a person’s life?

The article I read about Zelda reported that she felt forced to delete several social media accounts due to the ignorance of strangers who not only seemed to not know the meaning of personal space, but also seemed to have lost a core sense of decency.  People some how found photographs of Mr Williams from an old movie wherein he portrays a deceased person.  These people were posting links stating these were actual photographs of Mr. Williams postmortem.  They even went so far as to post them to his daughter’s accounts.

This is disgusting and beyond any scope of appropriate behavior.  Zelda publicly implored people to not click those links and to report the posters.  And then she closed her accounts.

It’s true.  Mr. Williams was a public figure.  It’s true that Zelda and her siblings had to share their father with the world.  Such is the life of a celebrity.  However, his family has the right to privately grieve his loss just as you and I have the right to grieve the losses in our lives privately.  Show some decency and some respect and some civility and some class and leave his family to deal with what has happened.

While I, personally, applaud social media for “deleting” the miles between family members and myself, I have come to the conclusion that it has also deleted privacy along with manners, consideration, compassion, and sympathy.  Not all the time.  But enough of the time to make me scratch my head and want to yell, “What is wrong with you!”

I also think people post too much of their lives online.  Individuals help to remove their own privacy by not keeping private certain details of their lives.  Social media has made this great big world a whole lot smaller.  We all have to live here.  Let’s be considerate.  Let’s be respectful.

Until next time, I hope you turn off the computer and enjoy some sunshine or some star gazing.


8 responses to “Social Media–A Privacy Buster? by Valerie J. Patterson

  1. Twitter, thankfully, went after those posters and pulled their accounts. I will focus on the loss of someone I admired, send healing prayers to the family and friends, and try NOT to complain about the gray, gray day we are having here.

    • Valerie J. Patterson

      Sadly, all twitter did was suspend the users. One of the users was online using a different account and bragging about how suspending his one account would not stop him from using any of the many other accounts he has. Twitter needs to set parameters that prevent one person from having multiple accounts otherwise suspending one does little to nothing in preventing future abuse issues.

      It’s a sad sad day when a person dies…celebrity or not…and their tragic demise is mocked in front of their family members purely with the intent to cause pain.

      I will miss Robin Williams and his creative genius. I, too, will not complain about the 43 degree weather I woke up to. Thanks for reading, Laurie. 😛

  2. There is good and bad. For me I try to focus on the good. Like with everything if there is no market for it, it won’t flourish. And, I think how sad and unhappy people that do these things must be.

    Robin Williams was a unique and wonderful man. And it this that is his legacy.

    • Valerie J. Patterson

      There is good and bad in everything, but why people have to push the line is a mystery to me. It just wasn’t necessary to be so horribly unkind to his daughter at this point in her life.

      I agree, he was very unique and therein lies the talent that made so many people laugh. Thanks for reading, Lavada. 😛

  3. Social media is like most things, I suppose. You always get people who will abuse it in the worst way. I suppose it makes up for something badly missing in their lives.

    So sad to hear about the loss of Robin Williams. He was an amazing personality. One of the talk show hosts here in the UK said you didn’t interview Robin, you unleashed him. What a way to be remembered, as a unique, wildly energetic and lovely human being.

  4. Sad news indeed about Robin Williams. Social media, like all media, is normally a marvellous thing but it is such a shame when a few nasty people spoil it for many.

    • Valerie J. Patterson

      You know Kit, social media is much like the school yard. Everyone can be playing nicely and having a grand time until the “bad boys” or the “mean girls” show up and then it’s spoiled for everyone. Sad, but true. 😛

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